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 Orchid Care 101

RE:   Re-Potting! 

​When is it time to transplant?

Hi, I'm Kate, a potter in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

I make ceramic homes for amazing orchids and their colorful owners! 

So let's talk transplanting! 

One size pot does not fit all, right? 

The same goes for transplanting orchids. 

There's no generic formula for orchid cultivation. 

The amount of time spent in the pottery is not always the reason to transplant. For instance, mini orchids like vandas (neofineitia) grow slowly, while dendrobium need relatively more resources to thrive.

Let's start with a few golden rules that apply to all potted orchids:

(Let me know if you have a golden oldie and I'll list it here)

  1. All orchids are air plants, they take food/water from humid air
  2. Orchids wilt and turn yellow from too much water on roots
  3. Orchids like to be misted with purified water, especially in arid climates like the desert, or homes with central heating
  4. Keep the tag or create a tag with the orchid's info
  5. Does the tag match the orchid?
  6. NEVER use regular potting soil, use Miracle Grow Orchid Bark or a medium designed for that orchid species/genus (Latin name on tag)
  7. Wait until the bloom cycle has finished
  8. Look under the potting medium, are the air roots and/or pseudo bulbs healthy? Are they plump or wrinkled?
  9. Is the medium compacted, musty, fine-textured and degrading?
  10. Does the medium smell fresh? 
  11. Have the correct size pot for your variety ready
  12. Relative humidity? Think Miami vs Phoenix. The same orchid will have different needs in these places. Does your 'drip' tray provide the correct amount of humidity or too much?
  13. Wash your drip trays often to control root rot, fungus, and bacteria
  14. Have a copy of Orchids For Dummies for troubleshooting

Many growers use the plant's tag to make informed transplanting choices. The variety is usually listed first in English, followed by the orchid species/genus/family (leaf and root shape) in Latin.

Moth orchids, or phalanopsis have long, silver-green air roots. Lots of these pink-tipped roots sticking out of fresh-smelling medium is a sign of healthy growth. 

For more Orchid Care 101 go to:


I'm Kate, a potter in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest

who makes 'ceramic homes' for orchids and their cultivated owners.

Clients often order pottery from my website with the hope it'll fit.

My pottery runs large, primitive, thicker and heavier than unglazed,

mass produced terra cotta.

It's good to measure the space before ordering, and add 2".

I always request an email after the order arrives to confirm the

insured pottery arrived undamaged.

It is pottery, after all,

and it's no secret that some delivery drivers

are retired from Nascar racing...'it' happens.

We have a 100% replacement guarantee and

only ship FedEx Ground/Home for this reason.

The red-brown stoneware in the photo (above) is a good example of a custom order that arrived safely.

This client in Kentucky has lovely old cattelyas that live on a windowsill.

Basically, his orchids are members of the family.

He wanted barely-glazed pots, 9" tall x 7" wide, with no holes.

The orchids were huge, but the hydration tray needed to be small,

very stable and fit a 6" wide space.

Another favorite client cultivates orchids,

and does well in regional orchid shows.

He uses our unglazed raku O-Pots in his greenhouse,

and custom designs for 'cover pots' in competition.

The 4" and 3.5" blue pots in the photo (pabove) are for his vandas,

and a size and style I'm happy to make on request.

This orchid pot set (above) was recently designed for a client in San Francisco,

whose favorite old orchid lives on a windowsill in her kitchen.

The space was limited to 5" wide, and the pot too!

The project was both inspiring and challenging. After a few prototypes and several photos sent,

the winning pot and tray set was snug on the window-facing edge (shown),

with room for hydration water on the elongated sides.

The disc-foot was larger and thicker for stability in a city famous for big and small earthquakes.

The photo below shows the front of the custom hydration tray on the left,

with the snugged, 'window side' of the tray visible on the right in the photo's shadow.

I'm happy to make custom orchid pots.

Inquiries are sent to: [email protected]

The things I need to know are on the CUSTOM ORDER FORM page of my site:

Three examples are:

1. How wide is the ledge or space

2. How tall and wide (across) is the pot to be

3. Is the orchid pot to be glazed, slightly glazed, or unglazed pot

(the tray will be glazed a matching color)

More Orchid Care Blogs:

The Art of Hydration . . .

Watering orchids is an art, a science, and a growth process

for the plants and their humans alike.

Every orchid species has a story to tell.

When we take the time to listen,

the exchange becomes a meditation on peace, beauty and balance.

A healthy balance of air and water is easier to achieve in a hothouse,

but not all of us have that kind of space, right?

Yes, it is possible to have great humidity indoors

in Arizona, for instance,

or @ New Years in Seattle

when it's pouring outside, but dry indoors with the heat on.

I love avid, Pacific Northwest orchid growers

whose passion for cultivation have few boundaries.

They have small, brightly-lit nylon greenhouses

right in the middle of their super warm,

VERY humid living rooms.

I admire their devotion--and their thriving plants

(as I trip over a bag of growing medium).

I'm a ceramicist in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest

who makes 'pottery homes' for orchids and their owners.

Part of the art of growing orchids rests

in a hydration system that's beautifully functional.

Our unglazed orchid pots are infused with carbon

from the raku kiln firing process. 

Raku orchid pots are naturally colored.

Each has it's own unique flame patterns.

We never stain with India ink,

and only "smoke" the pottery with organic cedar shavings.

The newspapers we use are printed with soy ink.

Our raku O-Pots wick water

They have a built-in ring to hold activated carbon,

because clean hydration water is healthier for plants.

Remember to wash your drip trays often.

More Orchid Care 101 blogs:


Healthy orchids are a blessing to any space, urban or urbane.

On a good day they can impart a quiet, artful beauty.

When we slow down and tune into our orchid's subtle frequency,

the exchange is calming.

I'm a potter in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest

who makes ceramic homes for orchids

and their eclectic owners.

I love making functional, rugged pottery for orchids and their growers.

The symbol on the side of this orchid pot says: "Urban Blessings".

It's also my potter's 'chop', a time honored signature stamp.

It's a 'message in a bottle' I send to all.

I've recently started designing ceramic baskets for phals,

and other orchids with photosynthetic roots.

People all over the USA have left feedback and photos on my website.

An accomplished orchid cultivator, and member of the Sacramento Orchid Society uses our pots for many of his plants. Charles' feedback is helpful and variety-specific.

More Orchid Care 101 blogs: